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Family Touch - Prasad Dhumal

Name: Prasad Dhumal

Designation: Senior Director IT

Companies Supported: DHL Express, South Asia

I was born in a typical maharashtrian family, to a humble couple Tukaram & Vijaya Dhumal in 1972 at Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh.

Father, Mother
I was there 5th child & the only son, following four daughters. They both hailed from Pune, settled in Bhopal as my father was working with the Public Sector Giant B.H.E.L. as master technician. Both my parents had completed their Higher secondary education (Metric in those days) from Pune & had very open & rational thinking. Though they had limited means to support the livelihood of a big family, they were strong believer of education & ensured that all their kids were put in good schools & completed our education, two of us completed Bachelor's degree & rest three completed our Masters degree. I am thankful to God to have such great parents who gave us a brilliant childhood & whatever I have achieved in life on personal & Professional front, the entire credit goes to their upbringing & values they taught me.

I got married to a lovely maharashtian "puneri" girl named Swati, eldest daughter of Vijaykant & Suman Deshmukh. It was an arrangedmarriage which happened in typical maharashtrian style in Pune in Dec 2001.

Atharva, our 6 & a half year old son was born in Aug 2003 in Pune & is our only child. He was born during the festive days of Ganesh festival, hence named after the Lord.

I spent my entire childhood in Bhopal, where I was born. It was a small but lovely city, famously known as city of "Nawabs". We lived in the BHEL township, located in the outskirts of main city. BHEL was quiet cosmopolitan in a way as people from all parts of India were working & living there. I had a memorable & wonderful childhood as I had friends from all religions, communities & we were all like a big family. I had lots of fun playing all types of games like marbles, Gilli-danda, Piddu etc, apart from regular sports like Cricket, Football & Hockey. Had great learning's from teachers in school & great moments during collage days as well. I did my schooling in the Society schools of BHEL, primary & middle education from Tagore Middle school & Secondary/Higher secondary from Vikram Higher Secondary school. Later, I completed my Bachelor's degree (B.Sc.) in science from MVMcollage. My father retired from BHEL in 1993 & I moved to Pune in 1994 to do my Master's Degree in Computer's Management (MCM) from Symbiosis Collage of Computer Studies & Research (SICSR).These two years of MCM in Pune & Symbiosis were really great & one of the best in my life as I made lots of new friends & learnt about computers for first time in my life. I joined DHL in July 1996 as a Management Trainee, through campus recruitment & moved to Mumbai as our office was located in Andheri (E). Since then, I am based in Mumbai, which has now become my First home since last 14 Yrs. As a kid, it was my dream always to work in Mumbai, maybe for at least 3-5 years & I was extremely excited to work here when DHL appointed me as MT. It was like a dream come true & since then, I have cherished every moment of mine of living and working in Mumbai, which is so special. It was here, that I tasted professional success for first time in my life. It was here, in this city of dreams, where I started my career as a Management Trainee, worked through various challenges & roles before becoming the Head of IT in 2004, at a young age of 31, probably the youngest Senior Management Team (SMT) in DHL India till today. In Oct 2008, I took over the role of Senior Director IT, of South Asia which included countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Srilanka, Maldives & Bhutan, in addition to India.

Swati is a Science Graduate from famous SP collage in Pune. Before marriage, she worked in ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India ) for couple of years & then in an engineering firm called Suneet Engineering for few years, both in Pune. She has been a wonderful homemaker since marriage & enjoys taking care of our sweet little home.

Swati loves making friends & socializing. She loves talking ( like every other women ), going places, shopping & cooking new dishes. Not much into reading, but loves driving, bikes & four-wheeler's both. She is a perfect homemaker & loves taking care of our son, who is very fond of her as well. She is a sweet, charming & confident person, who makes friends easily & wins hearts with her "million dollar" smile…I myself fell for it when I first met her prior to marriage. She is a bollywood buff, loves watching movies & following stars….she also loves surfing on the net daily on her laptop, reading mails, socializing on FB & Orkut, connecting to her friends. She is full of life & lifts the morale of entire family in dullest of moments. Needless to say, she has been the pillar of strength & the focal point of our family from the day she walked into my life, so much so that she is more popular & respected then me, among my family & friends.

Atharva , our 6 & half yrs old son, is an extremely intelligent & smart kid ( as all parents feel about their kids) , currently studying in class First at Billabong High International School, Juhu, Mumbai. He loves playing both indoor & outdoor games with his friends, enjoys drawing, coloring & reading story books & offcourse watching Cartoons. Tom & Jerry, Ben-Ten, Ninja Hattori etc are some of his favorite cartoon programes. He loves racing, playing cricket & football, skating & cycling as well.

The most memorable moment was offcourse birth of our son Atharva on august 26th, 2003. I was in Delhi for an official meeting when I got a call from Swati's gynecologist whom she had gone to see for routine checkup, stating that the moment has come & she was being taken into the operation theatre. Expectedly, it was a nervous moment for her & me as well…we spoke over phone & prayed to god. Within few hours, our bundle of Joy had see the daylight for the first time & we were proud parents…I couldn't wait to see my little one & flew down to Pune by afternoon flight , the journey of 2 hours seemed like 20.That was probably the best moment of my life when I saw my kiddo, safely sleeping in his mother's lap, who was beaming with a smile, despite of all the pain she had gone through earlier that day.

Since that, with god's grace, we have had several memorable & priceless moments with our son, so difficult to pick out of them, but let me try to recollect some of the best.

We were going to Phuket & the flight was at midnight. Atharva was just 2 & a half years old then. He was very excited as it was his maiden flight & first visit to Airport…he was all over the airport, running around & enjoying himself. Finally the moment came when we boarded the flight…he was thrilled…he got friendly with the crew very soon because of his inquisitive nature of wanting to know everything…we were worried that he would feel uneasy/scared when flight takes off & were taking extra precaution to divert his attention…to our surprise, I could feel the moment when the aircraft left the ground & was airborne…he shouted with excitement & started clapping…we instantly knew our son was more brave than us …kids usually are, we underestimate them. Later, throughout the flight, he kept on walking up & down in the aisle…talking to people in his typical "kiddo" language…he quickly become friend with the cabin crew, who showed him the entire plane…he then made an impossible request to crew…he wanted to see who's flying the plane & how ….as expected, it was turned down, stating that he will be shown the same when the plane is landed & safely parked…they kept their word & Atharva met the pilots in the Cockpit, who showed him various controls of flying plane & also gave him some chocolates…needless to say, he was on cloud 9 & so were we….

I had to go to London for our Global IT conference & decided to club my vacation with it…family was delighted & we landed in London riding on a BA flight in the evening…the sun was still out at 8.00 pm in the night when we reached our Hotel…we all were amused….we spent about a week in London & had great moments…Trafalgar square, Prime Minister's mansion on 10 downing street, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Madame Tussade, Science Museum, London Eye & the life line of London, the "tube" (London's metro train ) in which we traveled most of the time. That one week was one of the most memorable, the best one was in the Natural History museum when Atharva got scared of a real size moving dinosaur & started crying…. it took us some time & effort to convince him that it wasn't real.

The love, caring & understanding we have for each other is the most important part of our relationship. We have lots of relatives & it's almost like a big joint family, though we don't live together…the time we all come together during any family occasion like marriage or birthdays or festivals in my hometown Pune are priceless & we cherish every bit of it. What I like about it is we have elders to guide us when it comes to history & rituals, youth to do the running around & preparation work and the kids who are all over the place, playing & doing all type of naughty things throughout the occasion.

I love to spend time with my family, in any form, any place, anyhow. Usually Saturday morning's are quite & relaxing, waking up late, enjoying morning tea & breakfast, watching Cartoon Network with our son…its amazingly refreshing & relaxing…you almost become kid again…..then a good meal in the afternoon followed with a movie in the afternoon along with gup-shup….the we go out in the evenings for either shopping or to meet friends….dinner at a good joint on the way back ! Sunday's are usually at home, again relaxing, watching TV & playing with my son & doing household work with wife…evening is usually movie time on showcase of Tata Sky.

We usually go to Pune where my parents & all relatives stay once in a month over weekend & on long weekends, we usually go out to a nearby resort /hill station for an outing with close friends…. I usually try to have a domestic holiday once in a year & an international one , once in two year with Spouse & kid….in December each year, we make it a point that entire family ( all relatives in Pune ) go for a two night three day type of outing together on a quite beach in Kokan.

My last domestic vacation with family was in Dec 2009…during yearend, the entire family got together in Pune..about 20 of us..we set off to a small Kokan village called Dive agar…its about 6 Hours from Pune…we had hired a mini bus & started at 7 O clock in the morning from Pune…had our first halt for breakfast on the way after about two hours of travel on a roadside dhaba…fresh with meal & energy, everyone got charged up & were singing & dancing throughout till we reached the resort at 1 pm. We had lunch & therein everyone went for rest, only to get up fresh & run to the beach in the evening. We spent two days there, completely relaxing & playing various games on the beach during daytime/afternoons & at resort in the evening. Elders used to go for a morning walk on the beach , while the young lot & kids used to stay back late in bed….then head for little local sightseeing post a lovely breakfast…back in afternoon, good lunch, some sleep & the on the beach at 5 O clock..Playtime. Travel way back after two days was equally fun filled & exciting.

Our last International Holiday was in April / May 2008…I took my parents along with spouse & kid to Singapore, Malaysia & Indonesia (Bali) tour….they were extremely happy as it was a dream come true for them, International flight, living in 5 star Hotels & site seeing of some of most awesome places in world like the Hindu Temples of Bali, the dormant Volcanoes of Indonesia, PETRONAS towers of Malaysia & Santosa Island of Singapore …we had great time in all these places & my family till date cherishes those moments.

I have very lucky & been blessed with some many good friends & its really difficult to say who is the closest…its definitely not one…there are few of them….Prabal & Atul, my DHL colleagues & friend, Ranjan, my schoolmate , Paresh my childhood neighbor & friend I grew up playing with… & I am really honored to have friends like them who have stood behind me in all the ups & down of my life so far.

A few words to all my IT colleagues, fellow CIO's & Technology leaders….its a more of a view & request, rather than a suggestion…I am sure you all would have heard or read this many times & probably felt yourselves at some point in time….I think we as technology leaders have a job much beyond our organizations as technology is shaping our lives as well…we owe lot our community, people & kids, beyond looking only for evaluating & implementing solutions in our organization. I think due to excessive influence & use of technology in our lives, be it internet or mobile phones or ipods or iphones or the Blackberry, somewhere I feel that we are missing the human touch & warmth from our relationships…while in many ways, technology has helped all of us to stay in touch with our work & social life as well, but at times the personal touch is required…the hangouts in person, the days without Blackberry & Internet, sporting activities with kids etc seems to be fading away… to an extent, I feel responsible & guilty for it as we are the creators & ambassadors of technology….while we can't undo what has been created already with a specific need of ours & has become a way of life for many, I think its our moral responsibility to create awareness on effective use of technology to new generation to strike a work / life balance…to make our lives more meaningful & happier rather than having extended work hours & spending time on work during vacations just because the "technology" is available & one is never out of office. I know its strange for an IT leader to say such things about technology usage & there will be lot of people who won't agree with my views …I respect their views as well…I am not against technology, but its abuse…I encourage its effective usage, not excessive…lets make life easier, simple & better, not overworked & complicated.

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